[Seminar] Memory as Resistance: From Tiananmen to Hong Kong

Thursday, 28 March 2024, 17:30–19:00 PDT
Memory as Resistance: From Tiananmen to Hong Kong
Dr. Rowena He 何曉清, Senior Research Fellow, Civitas Institute, University of Texas, Austin
Place of Many Trees (130), Liu Institute for Global Issues, UBC
6476 NW Marine Dr., Vancouver
Map | Parking

This talk is grounded in over two decades of fieldwork on the preservation of historical memory tabooed by the CCP regime. Drawing on contextualized personal accounts, Rowena He will illuminate the unequal contest between state-imposed interpretations of history and independent scholarship on China’s forbidden past, and their implications for nationalism, democratization, and the field of China studies. Highlighting her extensive interactions with local and mainland Chinese students during Hong Kong’s unprecedented social movement, she illustrates how memory becomes a form of resistance that embodies citizen autonomy and agency. The power of the powerless.

In-person event. All are welcome. Registration required.

Dr. Rowena He 何曉清 is a China specialist and a historian of modern Chinese society and politics. She is interested in the nexus of history, memory, and power, as well as their implications for the relationship between academic freedom and public opinion, human rights and democratisation, and youth values and nationalism. Her first book, Tiananmen Exiles: Voices of the Struggles for Democracy in China, was named Top Five Books 2014 by the Asia Society’s China File. The book has been reviewed in the New York Review of Books, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New Statesman, Spectator, Christian Science Monitor, China Journal, Human Rights Quarterly, and other international periodicals. Her research has been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, the National Humanities Center, and the Civitas Institute at the University of Texas Austin.

Dr. He is passionate about teaching. She received the Harvard University Certificate of Teaching Excellence for three consecutive years for the Tiananmen courses she created. She joined the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) in 2019 and received the Faculty of Arts Outstanding Teaching Award in 2020 and 2021. In October 2023, she was denied a work visa to return to her position as an Associate Professor of History at CUHK. She has also taught at Wellesley College and Saint Michael’s College.

Dr. He publishes and speaks widely beyond the academy. Her op-eds have appeared in the Washington Post, The Nation, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, and the Wall Street Journal. She has been a keynote speaker for the Canada Human Rights National Symposium, testified before a US Congressional hearing, and delivered lectures for the US State Department and the Canada International Council. Her scholarly opinions are regularly sought by the ABC (Australia), Al Jazeera, Associate Press, BBC, CBC, CNN, CTV, Financial Times, Globe and Mail, Guardian, Inside Higher Education, Le Monde, NPR, NBC, the New York Times, Reuters, Time, Times Higher Education, Wall Street Journal, and other international media outlets. Born and raised in China, she received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto.

This seminar is organized by the UBC Hong Kong Studies Initiative with the support of the Watt Family—Hong Kong Studies Initiative Fund and generously co-sponsored by: Department of Asian Studies, Department of History, Centre for Chinese Research, and St. John’s College.

Registration for: “Memory as Resistance: From Tiananmen to Hong Kong”

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